Tarzan Review

Tarzan is definitely a very well known Disney film from back in the day. It has a lot of adventuring and has grown to be rather iconic over the years. That being said, I’ve never been a big fan of the jungle landscape. Give me the big city anytime as it just ends up feeling a whole lot more exciting. The big buildings and everything is really what gets me pumped and Tarzan is not one of my favorite Disney leads either. Still I have to say that the animation here is exceptional and holds up very well. I dare say that most of the modern titles can’t touch this one and this came out before 2000!

The movie starts with Tarzan’s parents being obliterated so he is adopted by a gorilla known as Kala. He grows up with her family and the tribe and becomes quite talented. His English isn’t great as he is used to talking with the animals but it all works out reasonably well either way. One day a group of humans show up to study the gorillas but the chieftain Kerchak warns Tarzan to stay away from them. Humans are often awful creatures who destroy everything in their path after all so associating with them would not be a good idea. Tarzan can’t help himself though. Will his infatuation with Jane cause destruction to all those he knows and holds dear?

Tarzan had a tough time fitting in with the other Gorillas throughout the movie so that’s part of why he looked forward to spending time with some other humans. They were people he could really understand and hang out with after all so it really did make a lot of sense. That said, it is still a shame since he had finally gotten the reluctant respect of Kerchak and people didn’t mess with him anymore. Putting his family in danger was just not good and ultimately Kerchak is the one who has to pay a heavy price for it. He should have just said his hellos to the humans without selling out the rest.

As I always say you can risk your life if you want to but the instant you put other people in danger is when you have officially gone too far. You just can’t be doing things like that, it’s not a good idea. Even if there wasn’t a villain like Clayton in the mix, the risk itself is the problem and you can’t rely on hindsight to fix that. He has to hold the L here. I did like Tarzan more once he was really able to talk in English with the others. He actually learned a lot quicker than I expected since I’m used to him still being in the trying to adapt phase. I guess that may just be a popular part of his character since in the film he changed rather quickly.

Tarzan can also fight so that’s always handy. He’s not someone that the villains can take for granted. He does lose quickly on the boat but he was outnumbered so I will cut him a little bit of slack there. Meanwhile Jane is a good main heroine. She may panic a lot at first but ultimately she does help out and gets used to the current situation going on. Her father Porter is trying his best as well and doesn’t have any malicious intentions with meeting the Gorillas. Porter and Jane really just want to learn more about them and of course there’s nothing wrong with that. They just needed to be careful who else they brought along with them on the trip.

Clayton does make for a very imposing villain though. The guy is quite good at his job. He may be an antagonist but he’s not slacking in any areas as he is able to climb trees almost as well as Tarzan. Their fight in the climax is really intense because this guy is crazy strong, almost inhumanely so. If he lasted longer he would have made for a powerful recurring villain but either way he is not someone that you will be forgetting anytime soon. No shot of that, the film really shows why this guy is such a threat.

As mentioned earlier, the animation here is fantastic and they use a lot of strong lighting to really make Clayton appear as imposing and intimidating as possible. It’s part of why he leaves such a lasting impression whenever he is on screen. Even simple tasks like climbing vines are more fun in this movie because of the sharp animation. There is just so much energy to every action and it’s why I miss when we had such top quality animation like this. I think if this style had kept up then America would even be able to contend with anime right now on a consistent basis.

The supporting characters are a bit on the weaker side for me. You have Tantor who is an elephant who learns from Tarzan’s example and ends up finding himself a home in the gorilla tribe. He is someone who comes through for Tarzan even when the others don’t so I give him points there. He’s just not super entertaining. Then you have Terk who may be one of Tarzan’s best friends but she’s not super loyal. She turns her back on Tarzan at one point and then early on was quick to dismiss him while hanging out with the bullies. Both of those scenes started her off on the wrong foot for me.

Kala did well the whole time in bringing Tarzan into the tribe and integrating him into the mix. She defended him for years and then when he was old enough to defend himself she was still there as a good supporting character. Kerchak was more on the stubborn side since he really didn’t see Tarzan as being quite tough enough to fit in and felt he would always be an outsider. I’ll give him some credit for at least giving Tarzan his due respect once the hero took out the tiger who had been attacking them and defended the tribe against Clayton. I mean the latter was his fault but at least he tried to remedy his mistakes.

There are some songs here but none that I would say would end up going down as all time classics. They don’t seem very nostalgic to me compared to other songs that I’ve heard in the past so it at least feels like they weren’t super huge. They could be fast paced but weren’t big game changers for me either. The animation stands out as more impressive than the ost here. It helped to redeem what could have otherwise been a very boring jungle backdrop.

Now because of all the animals running around here and the jungle there is some animal violence going on. There are at least two main deaths here which was unfortunate. Neither one is particularly cruel or drawn out but I would have much preferred a clean win for the hero and then the animal either runs off or turns good. It was just unfortunate that it had to go this way. Particularly the heroic animal’s death because it just makes Tarzan’s mistake feel a lot more irredeemable because of the heavy price paid for it. At the very least he will need to work really hard to try and mount a comeback after that because this isn’t something that’s super easy to come back from.

Overall, Tarzan does feel like a grand movie because the budget for it was so high. They did a good job of making it as sleek and intense as possible. At the end of the day there are just parts of the premise that will always make it hard to be very good though. With the origin out of the way I could see the sequel being a lot better. The romance was rather weak so I’m not sure I’m ready for much more of the Tarzan and Jane pairing but otherwise you could probably have a fun adventure coming up. I’d put this around the middle. It’s not a film I would look forward to checking out again but the animation keeps it from dragging out and the fights are intense. Check it out if you do enjoy the Jungle setting.

Overall 5/10

Wall-E Review

The Wall-E movie was fun and a bit different from your average flick with how the main character doesn’t really talk much. So it’s more of a visual title in the end. The manga decided to change things up by adding a narrator the whole time. I understand the move since you’re worried that readers will get bored or finish too quickly without anything to see but unfortunately the dialogue does tend to be rather cheesy. This isn’t going to beat the average adaption but it’s still not bad it’s just not as good as it could be.

Basically the story follows Wall-E who is a trash compactor robot that is very lonely. There isn’t anyone around anymore and he just wants a friend. Well one day he meets a robot named Eve and he figures they can be friends. It’s tough goings at first since she’s mostly emotionless but by the end they get to be good friends. Along the way they even end up helping out the human race who have all grown very fat over the years since they didn’t have to exercise at all. With Earth contaminated they all live aboard a spaceship and have everything they could ever want. It’s like a paradise but one that has gotten the humans really lazy and unable to contribute anything. I do have to say that this is mainly the humans fault though.

It’s an interesting look at what paradise can do to you and it’s an argument that the heroes have made in a few different titles whenever paradise is brought up. If life is too perfect then the idea is that people will stop trying to improve themselves and innovate because there won’t be any reason to do so. I would say the main issue with this idea is that it’s basically saying to stop trying to make things perfect because of a possible issue but one that shouldn’t even be relevant.

It’s actually impressive that humanity came up with this advanced ship and everything to avoid Earth being too poisonous all those years. I also liked that the manga didn’t make the humans look super corrupt or anything like that. I feel like half the time in these things the humans all end up being evil for no good reason. In this case it’s actually a robot trying to mess things up so that was appreciated. The captain actually stayed strong and did his best to try and help save the world.

In a way the only double edged part of this is that the human plot is way more interesting than the robot one. You just don’t care about Wall-E and Eve too much next to the captain and his crew. I know it’s an emotional tale with those two but because they can’t talk too much it does mean that there is only so much they can contribute to the story. You aren’t wondering what’s going to happen or what trials they will encounter. Instead you’re just waiting on the human parts where there is a lot of danger.

I will say that the artwork is decent though. It does a good job of capturing what was happening in the movie and the character designs are on point. It’s not a very action packed series so it’s not like the artist is being super tested here but it’s still a good showing. I was satisfied with how the manga looked and it makes for an easy read. You will definitely be knocking this one out very quickly.

It’s also just a very wholesome adventure so this is one you can recommend for all ages. Kids, teens, adults, everyone can have some fun here. The only downside is again that there just isn’t much danger for most of the adventure. There is a villain near the end with the robot but that threat goes by in the blink of an eye. I think adding in an Evil Wall-E would have been good or maybe giving the evil robot a super form so he could fight with that. It may be a bit outside of what the story was going for but it could still work really well.

I always remember thinking that Wall-E looked a whole lot like ROB which was pretty fun. If he had that stern personality as well I think that would have worked out well here. I would argue he is going more for friendship with Eve at first but just doesn’t know much about feelings and so that’s how it starts to turn into a bit of a romance but it doesn’t really work because they barely even know each other. It would be a very rushed romance in that sense and so it isn’t the strongest part of the film. I’d say they should have just cut that aspect out of the manga because it wasn’t really needed. Give Wall-E a good friend and the story works out well.

Overall, Wall-E is a good story but the manga doesn’t really add anything to it. You could probably have just as good a time watching the movie and maybe an even better time. This is like the cliffnotes version if you don’t have time to watch the movie but want to talk to people about the story. The narrator is also just really cheesy so he doesn’t help with things. He’s sort of trying to tell you how you’re supposed to feel about every scene but does so in a very heavy handed way. It’s still a decent story but one that may feel a tad boring at times.

Overall 5/10

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Review

All right it’s finally time to dive into the She Hulk show. I saw this one a while back so the review’s been on the backburner for a while but hey it’s time for the hype. She Hulk is a character that I haven’t actually read a ton of comics for. I’m well aware of her just because she is a big character but this is really the first time seeing her on the main stage for a while. This show is going for a full comedy approach as opposed to more of an action/comedy mix. It can land some of the comedy elements at times but ultimately I would have to say that this is the weakest of the Disney+ shows that I’ve seen and a lot of that is ultimately going to come down to She Hulk herself who makes the villains’ job very easy in the show.

We kick things off with Jennifer grilling Hulk about Captain America and generally being annoying so they both get distracted from the road and a UFO smashes them. Their blood ends up mixing and so Jennifer gains the abilities of the Hulk. She is now the She Hulk and quickly wants to go back and resume her legal career. Hulk wants to train her but she has no time for that and runs off. After defeating Titania her legal career seems to be at an end but fortunately there is one company still willing to hire her as an attorney. They are even building up a whole super hero division. She Hulk accepts of course as this is her last shot but it means that she will have to be representing the Abomination! Additionally there are a group of Keyboard warriors led by HulkKing who want to drag her down into disgrace. Can she stop them?

The series is only 9 episodes long so it goes by really quickly. I thought the first episode was really solid and I liked the start of the last episode a lot but it does tend to fumble a lot midway through the show which prevents it from being higher. Lets tackle this one aspect at a time though. First up I’d say is the comedy for the show which will be hit or miss depending on how much you enjoy the style here. She Hulk breaks the 4th wall a lot which is absolutely her gimmick and those scenes work well enough.

It’s been a while since I watched a show where the character talks to the audience. When the show is trying to be funny within the the 4 walls is when it’s not quite as solid. She jokes around with all of the characters a lot but more often than not they tend to just look concerned because if she is their attorney then all hope might be lost. Crashing the wedding as She Hulk felt petty even if it was to upstage the bully and she hits up the bar quite a few times to drown her sorrows.

At the end of the day She Hulk isn’t one of the most mature heroes and this is how she really gives the villains ammo. So of course one of the big things the keyboard warriors are trying to do is to discredit She Hulk. Well, she has one unfortunate habit that is easy to exploit which is that she’s a huge flirt like James Bond and will have affairs really quick. You can probably imagine what the villains use to get some dirt on her and it’s just a shame that it was so easy. Now on one hand it’s fairly unique to see this happening to a girl as it’s usually a character flaw for a lot of male characters.

Captain Kirk, James Bond, etc, these are the characters you expect to easily get seduced and then open themselves up for blackmail after that. I can’t think of a time I’ve seen this with a main heroine so it’s different…but it doesn’t help her character. It’s a massive shot against her character to be honest as you also can’t picture any relationship working out now because she moves on way too fast. She also has their overconfidence which leads her astray at times.

Hulk tries to help her on several occasions and each time she just waves him off or yells at him with some speeches. Usually they are all incorrect as well like saying that she’s had it harder than the Hulk or that she can control her temper better than him. Both things are demonstrated to be false within the show itself. I would actually say this isn’t bad writing though but you’re actually meant to realize that she is too overconfident at the moment. At least that’s how I interpret it because often times the show will depict how she is a bit out of her depth here.

I like the idea of a superhero show with a lot of court scenes but unfortunately they are few and far between here. I wanted some really extended court scenes with fun back and forth but the only time we really get that is when Daredevil shows up and easily dominates her in the case. I wouldn’t expect anyone to beat him of course but it wasn’t her best moment to be sure. She Hulk is more of a fun character than one that you think is actually a really good attorney. Perhaps the show should just drop the sub title and focus on making this more of a fun action show where she is a hero for hire or something. We’re getting close to that anyway.

Then of course I did like the climax a lot as everything gets really crazy. You have every hero and villain showing up with a bunch of gamma powered fighters ready to mix it up. I thought that the fights were going to be great but unfortunately we don’t get that. What we do get instead is pretty interesting. You probably know a lot about the 4th wall breaking since it was trending everywhere but if not I won’t go into details. It was a cool thing that you could probably only do in a show like this or Deadpool and it works well. As long as you accept it as a fun gag it’s not like it breaks the universe itself because it’s likely also not an ability that she can use at will. Part of me did miss the actual climax that we missed out on though. That actually was going to be a whole lot of fun but now we’ll never really know.

As for the villains here, Titania probably has the most screen time. Unfortunately her power level isn’t remotely close to She Hulk’s so she’s more of a joke here. She almost literally goes down in a single hit initially and it never gets any better for her after that. I was glad when she showed up for the big wedding but unfortunately the fight was super lackluster. You almost forget that you have two fighters with super strength going at it because they fight like humans. Titania deserved a little more than that.

Leap-Frog shows up though and that was cool. We don’t really get to see him fight all that much but I thought that the gags really worked. If you know anything about the character at all then you’ll appreciate the references and how much the show is just going along with this. It was great to see him without a doubt. As for HulkKing, well I liked him on the message boards but that’s about it. His whole group is meant to be a bit of a joke the whole time or at least I’m 99% sure you aren’t meant to take them seriously.

I liked seeing them post online as a sort of poverty version of Reddit though. Having a hero deal with social media could actually be a lot of fun as a whole main focus because there’s a lot to unpack there. It’s only a minor part of this show but I did enjoy those moments. Honestly I would have liked She Hulk to have created a burner account to start defending herself on there and we get a bunch of flame wars. Ah well, maybe another time.

For the most part the episodes tend to have scenes after the credits but it’s a real coin flip as to whether it’ll be something really cool like a reference to the future or more of a gag that ends up becoming rather infamous later on. One dancing scene in particular will probably make you roll your eyes. Any scene with her parents is fun though. There’s at least one after credits scene with her father that was fun. I like how nonchalant they take the whole thing because it makes sense. At this point superpowers are almost normal within the verse if you think about it so why wouldn’t people be more natural at this point right? You just take it in stride and having her parents be so supportive was great.

Hulk looks pretty good here. Even when She Hulk is being rather meant to him, he’s always ready to help. He’s even okay with her representing Abomination even though the way she asked was more like informing him. I’m telling you she tries to be rude almost every chance she gets but Hulk is always willing to take the high road. He also shows up in the climax to help out immediately even though he was light years away. He’s just a great hero as always and has really done well to master his strength and not lose control anymore.

A big guest star that got a lot of hype before the show even came out was Daredevil of course. He gets a lot of good moments here and in particular his introduction was amazing. The theme music that played was really sharp. I have to assume this is from the Daredevil show but the tune is so good that this is one scene I actually replayed quite a few times. He shows off great aerobatics in dodging She Hulk’s attacks and the car she throws. He almost fights a bit like Spider-Man here and shows off how athletic he is.

I think any Daredevil fan should be pleased with how he’s portrayed. He’s excellent in the court room and can hold his own in a fight. Of course She Hulk can beat him at any time she pleases since he’s weak against sound and one clap would take him out but it’s still nice to see him hanging in there. He even makes sure not to attack her at any point in the fight since he knows that she is a fellow hero. So all of that was a lot of fun and you don’t expect great music for live action shows most of the time so it was nice to see this. Of course the Marvel shows have all had really good soundtracks so far so in that sense this wasn’t as surprising.

I really could have done without the romance though. This was rushed even by the usual rushed romance standards. It’s like they met up and got together right away. By this time in the show She Hulk has already liked several characters and of course the same is true for Daredevil in his series. So this is really just a rebound fling for no real reason. Romance is really one of the weak points of the series because none of it ever even comes close to being believable. It just doesn’t work. Was still nice to see Daredevil show up and get some fights though.

She Hulk has another ally in Nikki for when she needs emotional support though. Nikki is a good friend who is always loyal and has She Hulk’s back. She lets her know when things are getting dangerous online even when others tell her not too. So Nikki is someone that’s super dependable and she gets a good role here. There’s another guy who wants to help out in the group but he’s not as smart so he doesn’t get as much to do. At least he has one infiltration mission where he gets to try and help the cause though.

Wong also has some cameo appearances but doesn’t do a whole lot here. I like his overall disdain for court proceedings though. He has magic so he figures he can do whatever he wants and…well he’s not really wrong. As the Sorcerer Supreme he can do a whole lot and it’s hard to ever capture him since he can warp around. I liked how his plot with the Abomination ended up concluding as well.

Meanwhile the Abomination is a bit different than you might expect. He’s really mellowed out a whole lot to the point where he is a pacifist and he has a whole group therapy business going. It’s definitely a big change from how he used to be so unfortunately you shouldn’t expect any big fights out of him as a result but it’s an interesting take. Some of the scenes with him and the therapy sessions drag on for wayyyyyyy too long but as a concept it isn’t bad. The final episode also really makes this plot worth it with how things play out.

While the special effects may have gotten a lot of shade, I thought they worked well. She Hulk looks great in the green form to the point where I would have been cool with her staying in that form 24/7 for the show. The GTA cutscene comparisons were fun but I don’t think that’s even a bad thing per say. Yes it is surreal to see She Hulk walking around like CGI into a live action film but it works and the character model is on point. This is how I would picture She Hulk to look for example.

Now with the fight scenes being underwhelming that’s just a choreography issue. None of the fights tend to have any real damage or feeling behind them. Of course the show mainly has 0 stakes as a comedy so you’re not expecting anything too serious but more hand to hand or damage effects would be good. The best fight was easily between She Hulk and Daredevil and that’s extremely short. The rest of the fights are just missing their impact for the most part.

What the show needed was more of a focus on the ongoing plot or a little more danger. The middle episodes just feel like you could almost cut them and not much would change. It was nice seeing a random case in the middle because you should have that as an attorney series. Defending the immortal guy who kept offing himself to avoid taxes and start a new life was interesting. We needed more cases like that and less romance and wedding stuff. The counseling session also didn’t need to pretty much be a whole episode.

Now if you do want to focus on being a full comedy show then you just need to be funnier. For me a good gauge of how funny something is during the slice of life scenes is whether I would really be able to watch the show on my own and have a good time. She Hulk was really on the fence for that a whole lot of the time. It’s just never as interesting as the other Marvel shows and as a main character Jennifer lags behind the others. She’s great as She Hulk but the human alter ego can’t hold her own stories quite as much.

Maybe it’s in part because the humor can be more based around the romances or awkward moments which doesn’t generate as much of a laugh as things being wacky or fast paced dialogue. Regardless, the action at the beginning and ending isn’t enough to really throw this into the positive side of the fence. I ended up feeling like it’s at about the middle for me. I wouldn’t be tempted to watch it again and there is very little replay value. The episodes are interconnected enough where they aren’t quite stand alone but not connected enough to keep you engaged on the wider story. Of course whether you like it or not will completely depend on how funny you find the show to be.

Like there are so many aspects of being a superhero attorney that you can explore. The whole supers division is a great concept as well but Jennifer is more interested in how more people will date her now that she has a super form than in thinking about the other repercussions more. Like embracing the She Hulk name before people can use it as an insult or how daily life is just so much different now that she has become a celebrity overnight. Exploring all of this could be a show in its own. I always just go back to the first episode which ended perfectly though. She takes out Titania and embraces her role as She Hulk. Marvel’s always been good about removing the secret identity from the equation immediately. Having a really confident She Hulk just take the stage and start winning cases would have been great and we didn’t need to go away from that path to greatness.

Overall, She Hulk took some gambles and that’s good for a show to do. You do want to try new things even if they don’t work but in this case making She Hulk more of a traditionally fun main character may have worked better. I’d say you can drop the constant affairs angle in the next season just like how James Bond has almost completely dropped that in the new movies. Keep in the 4th wall breaking but lets get in some real villains next time or extended cases. You could easily make this more like Detective Conan or Sherlock Holmes where you have a good case that lasts every 2-3 episodes where she has to gather the clues and prove someone’s innocence/guilt. I tend to love court scenes in movies and shows so building a whole show around that would not just be a good idea but a great one. It would immediately raise the show up to the next level.

Overall 5/10

Frozen II Review

The original Frozen was definitely a very fun film with a song that caused a lot of waves around the globe. It’s one of those songs that you don’t really forget because of how catchy it was. The songs here don’t come quite close to topping it but it’s still a good soundtrack and the main singer’s on point. We also get some more action here and so all told this is a sequel that really holds up to the original.

The start of the movie takes us back to when Elsa and Anna were kids. Their parents tell them about how there’s a supernatural forest out there that is very dangerous. It’s asleep right now but if it ever wakes up then they’re all doomed. The parents go die in a boat crash and then we go back to the present where things are going well. Elsa rules the kingdom really well and has a nice handle on her powers while Kristoff is getting ready to propose to Anna. This is all put on ice (Ha!) when the spirits wake up after tricking Elsa into using her powers. The elemental spirits of water, fire, earth, and wind intend to destroy the kingdom and claim their vengeance. Elsa figures that it’s up to her to stop them but doesn’t want to bring Anna along since she’ll be in danger. Anna’s not going to let Elsa go so easily though. Will this all work out for the best?

Throughout the film Elsa is trying to ditch Anna and you can’t really blame her. Anna has done well to keep on fighting and hold her own throughout their previous adventures but at the end of the day Anna doesn’t have powers while Elsa does. So it makes sense not to bring her onto the front lines against these elemental monsters. Even Elsa nearly dies a few times while fighting the formidable water spirit and if she had to protect Anna then she may have lost that battle. I don’t blame Anna for trying to get in either but I’m saying this is not a character flaw on Elsa’s part but is in fact the correct strategic decision.

I liked Elsa’s portrayal here quite a lot. She’s still very mature like in the first film and hasn’t really lost her edge. She is more open to working in a group and hearing everyone out but will make the command decisions when necessary. Her mastery over the ice abilities is also good to see and it’s clear that she has not been slacking off. Elsa has been working to better herself off screen and holds her own in each fight. Having ice abilities would be really cool to have and the film does a great job of illustrating that. Elsa is very determined and never gives up, she’s absolutely still one of the best Disney princesses.

Meanwhile Anna is still a great foil to Elsa’s character. It’s almost like the Batman and Superman dynamic where she has more to prove since she has no powers but always ends up helping out quite a lot. Anna is very creative and can make herself useful in a great number of ways. She may overthink things as she never gives Kristoff a chance to finish his sentences as she runs with whatever the first few words were but it’s because her mind is operating at such high speeds. Anna is quirky but in a fun way and that dynamic between her and Elsa is a big part on why the Frozen films are so much fun. At the end of the day she looks great throughout the movie.

Kristoff also looks really good here and in some ways that’s more impressive than the first two. See, you expect Elsa and Anna to look great the whole time because they are the main heroines. For Kristoff it would be tempting to shelve him for the sequel or just make him comic relief but he’s actually useful the whole time and gets a number of important scenes to himself. He’s never just in the way or slow to catch on but instead he helps out a lot. Whether its herding animals or keeping the townspeople calm, Kristoff does what he can to help. Towards the end he is quick to help Anna with her plan and doesn’t ask questions about it. He just trusts that she is doing the right thing and goes in to help. You can’t ask for much more out of the guy.

Olaf is the comic relief character here and he was good. His song about becoming more mature actually wasn’t as bad as you’d expect. It’s still way weaker than the main songs of course but it was a good song about his character development as he tries to stay brave. Some of his jokes may drag on a bit too long like recapping the first film but it is fun to see if someone who hasn’t seen the first film would be able to understand what happened from his story. Personally I think they would be able to understand because he does still hit the main topics here. Olaf may have a hard time helping out compared to the other characters but he does get some solid emotional scenes. He’s not here purely for the comedy unlike other comic relief characters.

Frozen continues to operate on a higher level than your average musical adventure. Of course a big part of that is because the character cast is on point. This is a much stronger core group of characters than most films would be able to trot out. Additionally having a protagonist with actual super powers is a big deal too since her ice abilities make for a lot of fun visuals. There is a real sense of danger here like with the battle against the water spirit as she actually puts her life on the line. The scene of Elsa being frozen was also intense.

There’s an intensity here that you just don’t see very often from a film like this. You may not care too much about the feud from the past and those people stuck in the forest but you don’t have to be invested on that. At its core this is still an adventure about Elsa and Anna getting through their past and continuing to make the future brighter. It’s a very complete story and you don’t even need a third film. Things are fairly well tied up here although if we did get a third film, I’m fully expecting the parents to return and have a big role. It feels like we are really building up to something like that. And even if it’s not necessary, I definitely want a third film.

It goes without saying but the animation here is also stunning. It’s one of Disney’s best films in that area and the character models are on point. Each of the elements stand out visually and I’ve already talked about how good the ice is. The characters are expressive and so this actually does look like it’s even improved from the first one which should be the standard for any sequel. A lot of detail was put into this movie and it paid off.

Overall, Frozen II is a very fun film. The pacing is good and you’ll have a good time throughout. There are no areas that stall or slow down the pacing in any way. You’ll be invested in the quality characters throughout and the action scenes are played straight as serious moments. I’d be cool with the third film taking on an even more action oriented approach with a ton of big fights but realistically you’ll always have a balance with the Frozen films and this one really nailed that balance. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then you should definitely change that.

Overall 7/10

Tangled Review

It’s been a little while since I saw the Tangled movie. It was a pretty solid film and it actually had some real danger with characters getting stabbed and everything. The manga does a good job of readapting the events and so you do get the movie experience here. You won’t get to fully experience the songs of course but if for any reason you can’t find the movie, this will fill you in on the details pretty well.

The story starts by explaining how there was a magical flower that could be used to cure any illness and so this was given to the queen once she had grown ill. As a result her baby Rapunzel inherited this ability through her hair and so she was kidnapped by Gothel who had been using the flower for many years to stay immortal. Gothel would just cut Rapunzel’s hair and be done with it but the power goes away when that happens so her best plan is to trick Rapunzel for the rest of her life into working for Gothel so Gothel can keep using the power to stay young. This plan works out for many years but Gothel was a little too possessive in keeping Rapunzel in the tower.

So one day Rapunzel decides to leave and her opportunity comes when a thief named Flynn barges in with a crown he stole. Rapunzel hides the crown and says that he won’t get it back until he takes her sight seeing around the kingdom and specifically, she wants to see the mysterious lights that go up once a year on her birthday. (Gothel messed up by not giving her a different birthday) Flynn agrees since he wants his crown but as their adventure goes on he learns valuable lessons about friendship and what it means to value someone over normal jewels and riches.

It’s a fairly straight forward story and you can pretty much guess how it plays out but the execution is on point which is the important thing. This is a very low key story but one that will keep you interested. The characters are good and we do still have some danger here as like in the movie Flynn does get stabbed at one point. Gothel makes for a very solid antagonist here. Sure, she may not be the smartest in some ways as she creates a lot of problems for herself but she did keep the ruse up for many years so she gets some props there. She can also fight and isn’t above getting her hands dirty. In some ways that may be the most impressive part of her character.

As for Rapunzel, she is a solid main character. She took matters into her own hands in beating up Flynn and had a nice plan for escaping. While her hiding skills may not be the best, she is able to keep on winning until she gets things right. She’s a very determined character and that’s a good trait to have in any main character. Rapunzel also sticks up for herself when she knows that things aren’t right. When you add that all up I dare say that she is more likable than a lot of the more classic Disney princesses.

Flynn is less heroic than most of the main guys in these Disney adventures but that does mean he gets to learn more lessons. He goes from being someone who will easily betray his friends to someone that Rapunzel can count on. I do think he looks rather unimpressive in the fights though as Gothel easily takes him out and he loses a lot of fights here. He will have the rare moment where he looks tough like when he fought the villains off with his frying pan but that’s about it. Usually it’s still game over for him but he gets some decent banter with Rapunzel.

The art here is okay at best. It’s pretty much what you would expect from a movie tie-in. It’s not going to get the high quality art of a classic ongoing but it does its best to look like the movie so that’s a decent start. Think of this like a Shojo one shot for an artist that’s just starting out. I will say that the paneling is good though and it’s easy to read through the volume. It feels really short by the time you are all the way through it and that’s always a good sign.

One of these days what they should really do is grab one of the movies but instead of ending where the movie ends, just keep on going. Have the series surprisingly become an ongoing where the adventures continue. Now that would be extra interesting and there are a lot of ways that this story could have kept on going naturally. They certainly won’t run out of threats to the Kingdom and having Rapunzel return could make a lot of thieves think about an easy pay day once her powers return. (Because you know that they would!) It could easily be a fun action adventure story.

Overall, Tangled is a very safe manga I would say and that plays to its strengths. It’s very low key and you won’t think about it all that much but at the same time it’s still easily able to achieve a high score because there’s nothing bad about it. It’s just a fun adventure that you read through in no time and have no regrets over. The core story is a solid premise that always works well with good writing. I would recommend reading this manga if you haven’t seen the movie. If you’ve seen the movie then I don’t think there is a whole lot of point to reading the manga but hey if you want to relive the adventure then this is a good way to get a different spin on it. It’s effectively the same but reading will always feel a bit different than watching something.

Overall 7/10

Werewolf by Night Review

It’s rare to have stand-alone specials but they’re always fun when they pop up and this one is no exception. It’s a fairly unique special for Marvel as it doesn’t quite feel like the average movie. This one plays out more like a monster movie as everyone gets in on the hunt and it’s handled well. It’s also quite a bit more intense than the average movie but without lingering on any shot for too long or trying to get too gritty. So on that note I thought the movie did a good job.

It starts with the world’s greatest monster hunters all being gathered in one room. Their mission is to capture a red gem that has been placed on a monster. They have to slay the monster and grab the gem which will make them the new head now that the old man died. His wife Verussa is the one who has gathered everyone here together. Her daughter Elsa has also decided to show up for some reason which nobody is thrilled about but they’ll just have to roll with it. Naturally fighting among competitors is to be expected as well as the only rule is to grab the stone. Everything else is permissible and eliminating your competition now could help you out down the road. So with that in mind, the competitors are all sent into the garden at night to either slay the monster or be destroyed.

The main characters here are Jack and Elsa so you can expect them to do more than the other hunters. Elsa has her own reasons for participating and clearly her skills have not dulled as she is able to get in on the action rather quickly. She holds her own against these master class hunters and is generally a strong combatant. I thought she was a fun member of the cast. Perhaps not the most trustworthy fellow as I get the feeling she could change sides on a whim but having her power on your side is a good thing. She is adept at using most weapons.

Then you have Jack who is more of a pacifist and would rather not have to fight anybody. He will destroy monsters as needed but not other players. This puts him at quite the disadvantage here. In general Jack doesn’t seem nearly as skilled as the other competitors either though. He feels like your average lead who can fight with some street brawling skills but doesn’t have any super talented moves so things tend to get tricky for him. He’s always confident though, you have to give him that.

I enjoyed the whole set-up here. The opening scenes of everyone hyping each other up as we see how spooky the manor is was quite effective. I always like that kind of set up and the hunt is like a free for all in the Hunger Games. The black and white color scheme also worked really well here. Now if I’m being honest, doing this in color would probably work even better, but I do enjoy black and white so it wasn’t a big deal. Also, it does tend to help tone down the violence as a stylistic effect so it probably did come in handy there.

This feels very retro so the film absolutely succeeded since it seemed to be trying to get that feeling across. The battles are also good, they tend to be quick as each opponent is looking to murder the other one but you feel the skill in the confrontations. I also liked what the film did for the Marvel intro. It works well as a one-time Halloween kind of thing. I wouldn’t want it to replace the main intro but it was a good change of pace.

On the slightly weaker side of things, Man-Thing was one of the most hyped parts of the special but I wouldn’t say that he looked great. In fact, I would say that he was on the losing side of things for the most part. Not that he literally loses any fights here but he doesn’t seem as fierce as you would expect and it feels like he actually could have been in danger. Right now he appears to be a glass cannon and the gem was doing a number on him. I want to see what he can do at full power.

In the meantime I do like his friendship with one of the characters though. He seems like a good guy to hang out with and I like that personality of his. So he may not have looked too impressive in a fighting context but otherwise he was on point. I could see him doing more in a sequel or if he returns at some point. I did like the effects used for his fire attacks though. Then Verussa made for a solid villain. Her plans may have felt a little short sighted though towards the end. She did gain the upper hand but it felt like things could have easily gone very badly for her and then there would have been no real recovering from that. I guess revenge was her main motive but even so, she probably could have handled things a bit differently.

There aren’t any real big plot threads that would need to be resolved so this could stay as a one shot but I would like to see the adventures continue. I think there’s a lot you could do with this dynamic and the execution was just on point. This is a special that would have a good amount of replay value to be sure. It helps that it’s so short so nothing is dragged out. You can just jump in and watch this one right away. Jack is also a likable main character and Elsa was a good heroine so we got some nice banter throughout the adventure. There’s even a bit of humor thrown into the mix and so what you have as a result is a very steady adventure.

Overall, Werewolf by Night is a pretty good movie. It was better than I had anticipated. Usually using a Werewolf by itself is a recipe for disaster but the movie handled this one with care and didn’t get bogged down too much with violence or trying to have a lot of grit in there. Things could get intense at times but it was all done very quickly and efficiently, as you would expect from pro hunters. Likewise the Werewolf rampage scene isn’t overplayed. Definitely a good all around title.

Overall 7/10

Toy Story 2 Review

It’s time to look at the manga version for the sequel. Much like the first one, the manga for Toy Story 2 does a good job of adapting everything and tying the story together well. The art is still clear and the writing is good even if the editor needs to check the text more closely for a proofread. It’s always good to see some new characters here like how we got Jessie into the mix. That definitely helps widen the character roster and I always thought she was a fun character. So you’ve got another quality character into the mix.

Things are finally going well enough with the toys when the manga starts off. They’re all getting along now while Woody and Buzz have become best friends. Unfortunately Woody is getting older now and is more prone to breaking. One day a collector happens to see Woody outside and figures that he can make big bucks by completing his Wild West set. So he steals Woody and now Buzz and the others have to find the guy before it’s too late. Meanwhile Woody meets the Prospector and Jessie, the two toys that he goes along with in the set. They really want him to stay because then they can all live forever in the museum. It is a rather tempting offer for the main character. Should he go with them or stay with his old friends?

This story has a bit more of a sense of danger about it thanks to the involvement of the Prospector. He makes for a solid villain because the guy is absolutely crazy with how badly he wants to be in the museum. It’s also more of a personal threat than the human because this time it’s a toy trying to mess Woody up. Woody isn’t exactly much of a fighter either so you can’t see him fighting the guy off without the team. If only he had chosen the old toys a little sooner, then he may have ended up getting out easier.

Woody is conflicted for parts of the manga and that makes sense to a degree. That said, I can’t imagine anyone being happy being trapped in glass at the museum for all eternity. If the case is secure he won’t even be able to move around. So he can talk but imagine not being able to move for the rest of your life? Now that would have to be really hard to deal with after a while. Don’t underestimate just how long a period of time the rest of his life would be. So if I’m Woody I still would have been going back with the main characters right away.

Meanwhile Buzz is the one who really has all of the answers in his sub plot but unfortunately for him he is taken out pretty early. The scene where he is stuffed in the toy box is pretty emotional because there was definitely a chance that he might not have gotten out. It was a nice excuse to see more of the classic Buzz though who still thinks that he is a toy. The fight with Zurg may be a bit on the anti climactic side but since they’re both toys that does make sense. It’s not like they could suddenly develop powers or anything.

Jessie also gets her character arc here as she was nervous the whole time about not being played with or being abandoned again. She’s already had a rough ride as it was but fortunately things work out for her. She adds to the character dynamics within the roster and will stay on as a good character for future movies. The Prospector is out of options but that’s what he gets for turning evil right?

Toy Story 2 does a good job of keeping in what made the first film good and then upping the ante with the stakes and villains. Seeing all of the toys getting along is also good since it shows how far we’ve come from the days where Woody and Buzz would fight all the time. It’s definitely been a long time since then and the toys need to stick together after all. Considering all the dangers out there, teamwork is really what keeps them together. Buzz deserves most of the credit for the gang being able to find Woody in the first place.

The art is also good like in the first one. Not amazing or anything but it’s all clear and the character designs are on point so you can’t ask for much more than that. For these adaptions I find that the art is usually clear and not too detailed or it tries too hard with the details and gets very messy. If I had to choose between the two options then I would certainly go with the former. You’ll end up blasting through this adventure really quickly that’s for sure.

While he’s not the main villain, I did like the toy collector though. He’s the kind of villain you can have fun with because at the end of the day he’s trying to get rich. It’s a classic motivation and from his perspective he’s stealing a broken toy and turning it into thousands. That’s quite crazy when you think about it. Even if this is what you would call a “petty” crime of course you are still hoping the heroes stop him. It’s so petty that it goes across the bend into being humorous though which is what really makes this villain work in the story.

Overall, Toy Story 2 is a good story. Like with the first manga adaption you still feel like it can’t quite match up to the film but all in all it does a good job of translating this over to the manga format. If you haven’t seen the film yet or are torn on if you should see it, then you’ll want to check this manga out. It’ll give you a good idea of the story and adapts all of the big moments but then you can always watch the movie afterwards if you liked this one. It could be a little while before I’m back into the Toy Story world so this is a good send off in the meantime.

Overall 6/10

Toy Story Review

It’s time to take a look at the manga adaption of Toy Story. It’s pretty fun to relive the film as a manga. This always seems like a good idea for someone who has no time to watch the movie or in general for manga readers to check out and then be inspired to watch the movie. I’d say the manga does a good job of adapting all of the events. Of course if you can only pick one way to experience the story then I’d probably say to go for the movie but all in all it’s a pretty enjoyable experience.

The story starts with Andy getting a new toy so all of his existing ones are very nervous. Up until now Woody has always been Andy’s favorite toy but what if that changes? Well, the odds of his fears coming true seem high as Andy’s new toy is Buzz Lightyear. The hottest toy on the market and this guy has a lot of cool gadgets like a button that has some snappy voice recordings and he can even glides thanks to his wings. That’s an awful lot for Woody to compete with. One day Buzz ends up falling out of the house and it seems like Woody may have done this intentionally so he has to bring Buzz back to clear his name. Can he pull this off or are the other toys going to forever think that Woody is very petty?

Describing the plot for a quick adventure is always tricky because you have to think about what the perfect cut off point is. I think that’s a fair description personally even if the story does change quite a bit as it goes on. You definitely understand why Woody is so jealous although at the same time it really doesn’t look great for his character. The guy doesn’t have much confidence to be intimidated like this on day 1. You’d expect him to hold down the fort for a week or so at least but playing with Andy is just too important to him. Woody would ultimately continue to improve as a character in the future films but just by this adventure you would probably put Buzz as the MVP.

He is a fun character after all. Buzz may not realize that he is a toy but partially due to that he does have a ton of confidence. There is no challenge that Buzz doesn’t think he can tackle and he does help the other toys out when they’re in a jam. The next door neighbor makes for a fairly imposing threat since the guy is absolutely brutal when it comes to the toys. It’s really fortunate that the toys don’t seem to properly feel pain like most beings because otherwise that would be really rough for them. It seems more like they just find the sensations odd at most like then the guy merges different toys together.

To think, if Buzz didn’t show up then Woody and friends might never have made a move against him. So Buzz was definitely a net positive for the whole team at large. I’d also say he gives us the best humor moments throughout the volume although Woody deserves credit there as well since the dynamic between the two of them is really part of the selling point for Toy Story in general. The other toys are nice enough like the Piggybank and Bo Peep but their role here is fairly minimal. After all the volume has to go through the events rather quickly so if you aren’t one of the main two then you’re basically out of luck.

As for the art, it’s fairly good. Nothing spectacular or anything as it’s really just going through the motions. It’s always very clear so you know what’s going on. You definitely would not say that the art ever gets cluttered or anything like that. The artist has fun with the expressions and the whole time you do feel like it all looks appropriate based on how the film was. So I don’t really have any issues there, it accomplishes what it set out to do.

The story is also fun enough like with the movie. It’s a pretty interesting concept about how the toys are alive. Naturally you’ll have a lot of questions about this because the implications are huge. Of course you’ll have to think about that on your own since this manga isn’t about to get into all of that. There’s really just not enough time for it but I’ll always give the film credit for really putting in a unique concept here. Perhaps the toys should go around from door to door to rescue other toys and make sure they’re all being taken care of. I suppose the world of Toy Story is likely a pleasant one but just like how they had a mean next door neighbor, I wouldn’t be surprised if other people are being mean to their toys. You could probably do a whole spinoff series about the toys trying to save everyone.

Overall, There isn’t a ton to say about this one. In part because I already reviewed the movie and also in part because it’s just so short. The volume is fairly small and it’s not like there’s a huge cast or anything. There’s no big topic that I have to spend a few paragraphs discussing or some kind of subplot I want to address. It’s a fairly straight forward adventure from start to finish and one that is executed well enough. It’s like a quietly good story that you had fun with. It wasn’t super or anything but you didn’t really have any big issues with it. That’s how I see the Toy Story manga. I probably wouldn’t read it again but it wasn’t bad or boring. It kept my attention and had good characters so you can’t really go wrong there. In the back of your mind though you can’t help but compare it to the movie the whole time though.

Overall 6/10

Eternals Review

Eternals is the latest Marvel film to hit theaters and it’s really been hyped as a very different entry in the series. It’s introducing a whole lot of new lore, characters, etc. It ends up being a fun adventure. The climax starts getting a little close to the point where I want to say it would start attracting some attention from the other Marvel heroes but it holds itself back just enough where I can believe that nobody showed up. In real time it wasn’t all that long before the event ended after all. It’s not quite the smash success I would consider Shang Chi to be but there’s a lot of interesting plots you can continue from this.

The movie starts by explaining that the Celestials are the ones who created the universe and they send beings known as Eternals down to planets in order to protect the life there. 10 Eternals were sent to Earth to protect it and they have done so for 7000 years. They are only to fight when creatures known as Deviants appear. Otherwise they are supposed to ignore all other conflicts and villains so that humans can solve their own problems. Well, the Deviants have returned so the Eternals must band together to fight them off one last time. After such a long period of time will they still have their fighting skills? Also, the Deviants appear to have grown much more powerful this time around.

In quite a lot of ways Eternals feels more like a DC film than Marvel. It has a darker color pallet than the usual adventures and these heroes are all based on gods due to the fact that Sprite would tell tales of their exploits over the last 7000 years. There is a body count here and the film can even get a bit dark at times at least with some themes even if the film itself I would consider light hearted. The team itself is even built like the Justice League to the point where you immediately see Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash in some of the characters. There are even 2 DC references as Superman and Alfred are brought up. It’s certainly a fun change of pace there and the Deviants are like something out of Apocalypse.

Throughout the film, the question is brought up on if these Eternals should have helped humanity. My response to that is of course they should have. There’s a world of difference between doing nothing to help the humans and doing everything for them. I’d say it’s clear that they had to help and intervene throughout the years and their inaction would make them appear to be villains after a while. There is a lot of debate on that within the film of course so you’ll get to see their discussions on it. Usually the side for non-action just uses their orders as an excuse though.

The film’s definitely more on the dialogue heavy side but there are enough fights sprinkled in throughout the film where I’d say it still earns the action title. The creatures often don’t seem to be much of a threat to these heroes but there is one in particular that is an exception to this. Still, the movie has solid special effects to show off the heroes’ abilities. The best fight in the film is easily the battle by the Beach. I can’t say much more than that but it’s also very much like a Justice League kind of moment and it’s handled really well. I’d definitely have been on board with more big action scenes like that. Fights against monsters are cool and all but battling other metahumans is even better.

The effects for the Celestial also looks really good and you can see the size of that guy well. He would make for a very imposing threat in the future. Perhaps the next Thanos although I’d like to have him shrink for the actual battle so we can get some hand to hand in there. For the soundtrack, it’s decent. I wouldn’t say there are any tracks that stand out a whole lot. At most I would say the Bollywood theme for when Kingo was starring in the movie was catchy. Beyond that there is quite a lot of variety in the music so you’ll probably be able to find at least one track that you like.

Where the film is a bit weaker is that the pacing can be really slow at times and it is leaning a lot more into the romance angle than other films. There are at least 3 main romance plots here. Sersi gets two romance plots here, one in the past with Ikaris and one in the present with Dane. None of them work all that well. The first one you can at least buy into a bit because they knew each other for so long and while there was a huge gap before the second one, I don’t think she ever properly thought of an answer on how you can make the relationship work when she’s an immortal and the other guy is a human. I mean that’s bound to get a little tricky after some years.

Then you have Sprite who wants some romance but is doomed to be an Eternal who looks like a child. It’s almost like a curse to her because she will never quite grow up and it does remind you that being immortal on its own is not always a fun thing. She was the worst member of the group to be honest. Her sarcastic nature could be good at times and she has her share of good moments but at the end of the day her willpower isn’t great and she causes a lot of issues.

As for Phastos, he’s the inventor of the group and has grown tired of participating with the group. He regrets helping humanity improve their technology now that it has been used for warfare. Ultimately his resistance doesn’t last very long as the team has to get the job done and he does have a family to protect. His subplot on being at home was really just there to include some PC elements to the film and I could have done without it. The scenes don’t add anything to the film except to yell to the audience about representation. Marvel had mostly stayed away from this before so it’s a shame that this bridge had to be crossed. It’s a short scene in the grand scheme of things but it wasn’t a good one.

As for Sersi, she’s a good character. At the very least I was glad she didn’t run back to Ikaris when he showed up since ghosting her for 2000 years just seems extremely petty. Honestly I would have liked her to have even been a bit more antagonistic to him given what had happened. She keeps a cool head throughout though and while her powers aren’t very offensive based, she is able to use them in a variety of ways which is good as a support fighter. Ultimately she makes the right decisions throughout the film as an Eternal.

Ikaris certainly got a lot of the promotional material here as the guy has a similar powerset to Superman which is even brought up in the film. He’s very much one of those guys who puts following orders above everything else. I tend to always have issues with those kinds of characters and Ikaris is no exception. Friends and family have to come before orders, same with justice itself. Ikaris fights for what he believes in during the film but the movie points out that this can easily be a flaw.

Then you have Kingo who is one of the more comedic characters in the film. I like how he found such purpose in his life while being away from the Eternals though. The guy had his hobby and turned that into a career passion. His scenes were always some of the most entertaining ones throughout the film. From all of the Eternals, I would trust him the most to have my back. He has his goofy side but steps up when needed.

Makkari is the speedster of the group and she can’t speak verbally but knows sign language. It’s a fairly unique situation for a superhero to be in and the fact that the rest of the fighters learned sign language speaks to their comradery. Her speed is quite impressive and I would say it’s the best showing in the MCU. If not for using the absolute worst speed technique: “endlessly running in a circle so the villain can take you out” she would have really been dominating most of the characters. For good reason she is excused from most battle scenes since they would be over in a flash. Her raw power seems fairly good as well given that she was dealing damage with her attacks. Compared to the rest of the Eternals I felt like she didn’t get to do a whole lot but she was fun.

Druig is one of the more morally dubious members of the group. He has telepathy though so that makes sense as fighters with that ability are usually tempted rather easily. See, he can not only read minds but control them so Druig makes the case that he could end all war on the planet with relative ease. It is true but taking away free will would instantly make him a villain. He was right that Ajak was taking a truly awful approach to the whole thing and his initial solution was correct. Mind controlling someone to temporarily stop a fight is fine. There’s nothing morally dubious about forcing someone to stop before they murder someone else. It only goes too far when you keep the control over them past that point and Ajak ruled the place with such an iron will that he just kept escalating his side as well.

I can’t say I would trust Druig very much compared with the rest. As for Ajak, well she’s the leader but like Ikaris she is big on following the rules even when they are the wrong ones which is an issue. She would certainly not rank as one of the more likable Eternals especially as we learn more and more about her during the movie.

Gilgamesh certainly has a powerful name. Any fan of Fate will understand why this guy gets so much hype and in general you’ll get a lot of Fate Go flashbacks here with part of the film taking place in Mesopotamia. He’s more laidback than the rest of the characters and seems to be one of the most powerful Eternals. He seems to think he is the strongest although Ikaris could likely defeat him. Gilgamesh is a nice guy who looks after Thena and just seems more ready to fight for justice when needed. His character brought a fun dynamic to the mix.

As for Thena, well she’s definitely one of the characters who really likes to fight. She gets a ton of hype throughout and while I would say she doesn’t always live up to it, (Her win record in the film is not very good to say the least) she always gets back up for round 2. Her energy weapon fighting style is good and does make her a good match for many opponents. It’s just that she always has to fight the strongest opponents in the film which puts her in a tough situation. She has to deal with a lot during the movie as well so she isn’t always in peak fighting condition. I imagine in a sequel we’ll see her look even better.

Karun is the comic relief character in the film but he really does an excellent job in that role. Pretty much all of his scenes are rather funny. He’s the kind of guy where you can instantly tell that he means well. Karun may not be some kind of fancy super hero but he certainly knows the difference between right and wrong and tries to lead by example. He doesn’t scare off easily and takes a whole lot of risks during the battles. That’s the kind of guy you want to have by your side when you need a photographer.

Kro is the Deviant who actually gets a role here. I’m not sure if he ever really got a name in the film but Wikipedia says that is his name so I’ll role with it. He’s almost like Parasite to an extent as he can absorb your powers through contact and keeps getting stronger. I thought he was a really solid villain. My only issue is that he was really underused. There were some really interesting concepts with his evolution and then they seemed to almost be thrown away. When Kro randomly showed up during the best action scene in the film I had a bad feeling about this because the film was nearly over and there wasn’t time for another fight.

Sure enough, there isn’t much of a fight in the end and I was completely unsatisfied with how his plot ended. Kro was great, no doubt about that but he should have been saved for a sequel. I felt like the ending just wasted his potential because this guy was really interesting. I suppose the sequel may have more of Arisham as the villain but it depends on if the film will portray him as a villain or not. I like the idea of this guy being the next Thanos that fights everyone 10 years from now and I had a good feeling about that but based on one of the scenes after the credits start, I’m not sure about that plan now. Of course I can’t say what those are so you’ll need to watch to find out.

The base ending (Final scene before the credits) is really solid though. This is how you end off with a great cliffhanger. You’re reminded that not everything was tied up quite yet and one loose end had not been addressed. It’s extra fun because you have to start thinking what this means for the next films and also this is an event that should now get SHIELD involved. I would say that one of the extra scenes weakens the cliffhanger part of this a bit because now we’ve got more of a destination but either way it was a really effective way to end things. It comes out of nowhere and immediately raises your hype.

As for the final two scenes, well the first one has to be the standout. We see some new characters and basically get a preview of what the plot might be for the sequel. Meanwhile the second scene gives one character a good end to his character arc. You might have wondered what the point of this guy was but then he has a cryptic speech near the end. Well, the extra scene showed you what he was talking about and it’s quite effective. I don’t see him being nearly powerful enough to do much of anything to help fight the threats that the Eternals deal with but maybe I’m underestimating him.

Okay time for some spoilers. Skip the next 4 paragraphs if you haven’t watched the film yet.

It goes without saying that I lost a ton of respect for Ikaris and Sprite when they turned out to be traitors. Both of them got off way too lightly if you ask me. Sprite really tried to murder Sersi and should not have been let back into the fold so quickly. It’s great that they had the restraint not to murder her, but take her to prison or something. As for Ikaris, the characters were way too sympathetic to him considering that the guy murdered their leader in cold blood and nearly murdered them.

Come on now, there is being forgiving and then there’s being a door mat. This action made the Eternals appear to be closer to the latter. He can be forgiven in time and all but not right on the spot like that. I was kind of hoping Thena would have taken him out during the fight or maybe Sersi upgrades her technique again and finished him off. That would have been more satisfying than him seemingly committing suicide in the Sun. I wasn’t buying his tears at the end at all and it’s actually something I’ve never liked for villains. Ikaris makes a big show of yelling and blasting at the air to show that he wasn’t happy with how he murdered Ajak but…he still did it. At that point you go full villain and keep it moving but he’s not going to win any sympathy points from me. He tried something similar in the climax and I’m just shaking my head at that. Also, with an ending like this for Ikaris there is still the off chance that he could have survived somehow which would leave room for him to show up in a sequel.

The best fight I was referring to earlier was with Ikaris vs the rest of the Eternals. You have to get some really good Justice League vibes from that. I’ve always been on the side that says Superman would solo the League (Which I’d say Justice League proved rather well) but in this case I think the full Eternals team would have been able to beat Ikaris here. The main difference is Ikaris isn’t nearly as fast as Superman is with how he was getting blitzed by everyone and while his strength is great, it isn’t as imposing as Superman’s. It helped make this a really balanced matchup though since it was hard to say which side would win. I love team fights like this and it was absolutely the highlight of the movie.

With how the film ends, I’d like for this to lead into the Infinity Gauntlet comic start except with Arishem as Thanos. Basically the Eternals free the others in captivity and crash-land back on Earth as they warn Dr. Strange that Arishem is coming to destroy the world. We then get to call in all of the Marvel heroes and it’s the next big event film. That would definitely be awesome and I’d prefer it to the Eternals just beating this guy straight up. We’ll see though, there are a whole lot of ways this could play out.

End Spoilers

With the Eternals in the verse now, this will be a great help to the Avengers since their ranks were thinning. If the Eternals actually star to help humanity of course, if they stick to the shadows then things won’t change a whole lot. It’ll be nice to see the two teams interact at some point. It might not be the same without Ironman or Captain America but there’s still a lot of good banter to be had. Of course we need to see the groups fight it out. Assuming we get the X-Men and Fantastic Four soon, the planet is definitely going to be jam packed with heroes so villains better beware.

While the film is really serious a lot of the time, I do want to underscore that it has a lot of good comedic moments as well. The balance is handled rather well as the heroes aren’t cracking jokes during a serious moment but know when to have fun as the proper time and place. The team has a good amount of banter between them and you should be smiling at quite a few moments. Aside from one joke that’s more on the crude humor side and will have you wincing, pretty much all of the other jokes do land.

Eternals is a movie where there is quite a lot of happening and that’s to the film’s benefit. It’ll probably take you some time to collect all of your thoughts on the experience but it’s in a good way. Better to add more and more things to your film than to under deliver. Some items should be saved (Like Kro) but if you don’t completely know what the future holds with regards to sequels and such then it makes sense to have everything in now. Low key I also like how more and more normal civilians are getting comfortable with superheroes and just mentioning them casually. If heroes were around in the real world and saved the Earth several times then I imagine it would very quickly become rather casual. We’re not quite in the comics yet where people can be fighting in the streets with super powers as people keep walking but it would be fun to see it get to that point.

There’s one moment early on where I was sweating it out since a dog appeared but fortunately Eternals took the high road. That’s definitely one way to build suspense early on. The early parts of the film did a good job of almost feeling more like a horror title at times with how intense the Deviant designs are. They did quite a good job on that as the beasts are memorable and also look rather unique. Again I don’t think they are much of a threat once the heroes are around but for the Eternals who can’t really fight, it’s definitely a big deal to see these guys around.

Overall, Eternals is a good movie. It’s not hitting the ball out of the park the way that most of Marvel’s newer films do but it’s not bad or anything. I think what will hurt is that there just isn’t a lot of replay value. The romance scenes will have you a little bored and while some interactions about the mission and such are engaging, other speeches just can’t be taken seriously. This is really a film that you don’t need to see twice compared to something like Shang Chi where a second watch would work really well right away. The film is really long which isn’t inherently bad for replay value but there are still long periods of talking with no real action. Discussions about how tough their mission is will be engaging the first time but you may find the film to be dragging a bit otherwise. Still, it’s worth the first watch so you’ll definitely want to check it out to see the next wave of Marvel.

Overall 6/10

Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Review

It’s time to finally take a look at the latest Marvel installment, Shang Chi. This one’s been getting a lot of hype for the hand to hand fights and it delivers on this. It’s got a great balance of action and humor so in the end this movie has a ton of replay value. You’ll have a blast from start to finish as you go through the journey.

The movie starts by introducing us to Shang Chi’s father Wenwu as he wipes out army after army. The opening scene is like something out of Dynasty Warriors as he can use his rings with such speed that it appears to be a forcefield which blocks incoming arrows. That was definitely implemented really well. After that he ends up meeting Wenwu and they get married. Shang Chi and Xu Xialing are born and we then cut to the present.

Shang Chi and his best friend Katy work for a hotel as they drive cars around and enjoy their job. They have a good bond of friendship going for them but Katy’s family want more for her. One day the two of them are attacked by a group of assassins. Shang Chi fights them off but not before they steal his pendant. This means that Xu may be the next target so the two head off to go and help protect her. Can they protect her from this group led by Shang Chi’s father or is she already doomed?

Right off the bat the opening fight scene in the modern day sets the tone well. It’s really good with minimal use of cutaways so you can follow the choreography. Even as someone who did think that the Black Widow fights were really good, it’s night and day compared to this one. The hand to hand is very high energy and the train fight is probably my favorite fight in the film. Likewise, Widow’s first big action scene was my favorite so I guess I just really like the way these films tend to open. they’re doing it right, that’s for sure.

The battles continue to be solid throughout the movie though. Whether it’s the fight on the roof top or the climactic showdown, you can always expect a lot of hype. While this is usually more of an anime movie trend, the movie even decides to go for a little Godzilla type action at the end. It’s not quite as solid as the rest of the fights but it’s always good to see the creatures getting some hype. I’d consider the battle before that to be the true final battle for the combat while this is more of a general climax.

The effects are definitely on point as well. The creatures have really epic designs and lighting for their attacks. I also like the way the rings are used in combat. It’s very much in the style of what you would see in the Tron films. It’s a very versatile weapon and if Shang Chi keeps those to use in combat for future films he is going to be very tough to beat. Certainly none of the street level fighters can handle him.

As for Shang Chi himself, he’s definitely a great lead. I did see some talk about him being too merciless and going for the kill, but I definitely didn’t see that. For the most part each fight is always from a self defense angle. Yeah you’ve got enemies being thrown out of buildings and moving buses but there’s no easy alternative there since he’s in the middle of a huge fight. So just putting my two cents into the ring to say that Shang Chi was definitely a full hero here and I didn’t find him to be going too far in any of the fights.

He does have a moment where he nearly does cross the line and the film’s clear in showing that he was about to, but ultimately he doesn’t. That would be the only true example you can use. His upbringing and origin do explain this fairly well though and he certainly had to deal with a lot. All in all, I thought he handled his past and present really well. Shang Chi’s the kind of guy you definitely want to have in your corner at all times. The movie also did a great job of showing just how good he is at hand to hand combat. Throughout the whole film it’s fair to say that he didn’t lose any fights straight up from the present and beyond. He always had the upper hand.

In the comics he was known as the greatest hand to hand fighter for a long time. I don’t know about currently, but at least in the days when I was reading comics. I imagine the films will be going that route too so this was a great way to show it. I look forward to seeing him interact with the other characters because he has a lot of good banter with Katy in this movie as well. Shang Chi’s very charismatic and that’s why I would put him as the best character in the film. Ultimately he really excels in all of his roles.

Katy is also a solid heroine. She has a lot of fun lines as well and knows not to take things too seriously. In general the film had a really fun script for all of the characters but in particular Katy is one of the characters that stands out. She even gets to contribute towards the end of the movie in an action setting which is nice.

Shang and Katy also have two friends in the film who only appear for two scenes but both are worth mentioning. It’s nice seeing the characters openly talk about their heroic exploits and everything rather than trying to hide them like you would expect. It’s a nice turn of events and it’s such a big contrast to how Peter Parker is handling the whole situation. Yeah the situations are a wee bit different I’ll grant you, Shang has less people he needs to worry about. Still, it’s a very Iron-Man type move which is always fun.

As for Wenwu, he’s definitely a very solid main villain. The movie’s going for more of a sympathetic vibe for him sort of like Thanos. Ultimately he did try to put his weapons away at one point and suffered the consequences for it so you can see why he never takes the rings off anymore. Honestly he probably never should have taken them off but that’s more of a hindsight thing and he was trying to do his best. So in the present you can definitely root for him because if there was even the slightest chance that he was correct then he had to check for himself.

So I don’t blame him for going as far as he did and that’s what makes him a high quality villain. He can also fight really well which is also nice to see. Old age hasn’t really hurt him in a lot of ways, he’s thousands of years old and still kicking. His wife Ying may only appear in flashbacks but she definitely looks really good as well. I liked her fighting style and the powers she used were quite impressive. It’s a shame that the powers can’t follow you out of the village because with them she would have been extremely hard to defeat. Her meeting/battle with Wenwu was a great way to introduce her.

Then you have Xu who is also solid. She did well to build her own empire for underground fights. I question how she is able to get in some heavyweights like Wong and Abomination but maybe there are a lot of benefits to being in the tournament. As a slight power levels issue, I do think the Abomination looked way too weak here. I’d like to say it’s a different Abomination to be honest. That’s my little head canon in case he never appears again because otherwise that scene did make me shake my head a bit. There are a lot of ways the fight could have had the same outcome but I wanted to tell the film to check it’s route at that moment.

It’s the only scene I questioned in that case though. All of the fights were presented well and everyone got their time to shine. Back to Xu, she definitely proved herself very well in a fight. Her skills may be a touch below Shang’s but they’re still quite formidable. She’s definitely not an opponent you want to underestimate.

In general the film had a fairly stacked cast and that’s definitely a big part of why the film is so solid. Even the side characters are fairly memorable like one of Wenwu’s main subordinates who is missing a hand. He’s definitely a solid minion. There’s also Trevor who does have an effective opening scene but I will say that he’s best in small doses. I don’t think you really needed him in the film after a little while.

All right, now these next 3 paragraphs will quickly be for spoilers. If you haven’t seen the film yet or the recent MCU shows then definitely skip these three paragraphs. It’s going to be time to do a little speculating here. All right, so I’ve noticed a bit of a trend here. In Wandavision we saw Scarlet Witch as the main villain as she knowingly tortured a whole town of civilians and by the end of the show she’s getting sucked into the DarkHold. In the Cap & Winter Soldier show, we found out at the very end that Sharon is actually compromising the U.S. intelligence for money and is a fairly reputable information broker in the under world. Finally in the Loki show we see Sylvie turn to the darkness at the very end and set course for a new timeline. (At best you could say she just made a dubious call and isn’t as downright evil as the first two but it’s a tough case to make) Here, we end the film with Xu taking over the 10 Rings instead of disbanding them for presumably shady reasons.

You can cut Xu some slack but if this trend is anything to go by, she will be a villain soon. So, what is going on here? Are these all isolated incidents or is something going on here? Personally, I think it’s going to be something like the MCU version of the Sinister Six. It’s going to be a group of 6 female villains who band together to take over the world or something. Wanda brings the power, Sharon has the intel, Xu has the manpower, and Sylvie has more magic which is never a bad thing. For the trend to continue, we’ll need to see if some other players are introduced in Eternals, She Hulk, Spider-Man, or Dr. Strange. Still, it does seem like something’s going on.

Also, while Nick Fury was the main figure head for the first few phases as he connected everything, it seems more and more like that will now be the role for Dr. Strange. He’s going to have a role in the Spider-Man film, Wong is here in Shang Chi setting up some future elements, and you’ve also got the Dr. Strange film coming up. Seems like the Sorcerer Supreme is going to have to start earning his paycheck as the ultimate sorcerer with everyone messing around in the universe. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how that unfolds. End spoilers

I can’t close out the review without also mentioning that the soundtrack was really solid. There were a lot of great tunes here and so I thought the music selection was absolutely on point. The scene of the guy stepping out of the car only for us to see that it wasn’t Shang Chi was also a good fake out. Again, the film’s humor was always on point so even when there weren’t big fight scenes you were having a lot of fun.

Overall, Shang Chi definitely lives up to the hype here and is a great film in this phase of the MCU. I really didn’t have any issues with it and I’m certainly ready to see him start appearing in more of the films going forward. Shang Chi could easily work as one of the central figures going forward since I can see him having good banter with just about anyone. There’s still a whole lot you can do with the Ten Rings as well and we’ll see which film is the first to connect to this one. It’s the MCU so you can bet that there are a lot of plans in the works. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you’ll definitely want to change that.

Overall 8/10